Royal NZ Air Force helicopter Squadron Leader wins award

Royal NZ Air Force helicopter Squadron Leader wins award

22-Nov-2010 Source: NZ Defence Force

The courage, commitment and leadership shown by Squadron Leader Mike Cannon, of Feilding, has earned him this year’s New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Person of the Year award.

SQNLDR Cannon, who is a Helicopter Crewman Officer (HCM) at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Base at Ohakea, was responsible for implementing the first Manawatu Leadership Odyssey as part of the ‘Sir Peter Blake Leadership Week’, a leadership and development training activity for selected teenagers from around the region.

The NZDF Person of the Year was first awarded in 2009 to celebrate the Defence Force’s values of courage, comradeship, commitment and integrity and to recognise and honour someone who has stood out in their commitment to these values.

During his career Mike has demonstrated courage and commitment many times. In 1999 he and another colleague were awarded the New Zealand Bravery Medal for the rescue of 23-man crew from the deck of a burning and sinking Taiwanese fishing vessel.

Mike has demonstrated his commitment and compassion to people, particularly those he associates most closely with. In the aftermath of the Anzac Day Iroquois tragedy Mike was at the heart of the response to the needs of both the surviving crewman and the families of those killed. He worked tirelessly to support the grieving families, and to assist with those sensitivities that inevitably arise out of such circumstances.

The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, who presented the award at a special ceremony on Saturday 20 November, said: “Squadron Leader Cannon has worked tirelessly while under great personal pressure to support the grieving families and to deal with the sensitive issues arising. Mike takes a personal interest in all members of the Helicopter Crewman trade. His approach to the organisation, his work and particularly his people, is sincere, reliable and absolutely trustworthy.

“Mike is a widely liked and respected member of the New Zealand Defence Force. He maintains an extensive network of contacts that extend well beyond the requirements of his work. He is a perfect embodiment of the ‘One Force’ concept. Squadron Leader Mike Cannon is an excellent role model for the Defence Force’s core values. He has demonstrated courage, commitment, comradeship and integrity. On a daily basis Mike inspires those around him to do the same,” said LTGEN Mateparae.

As winner, Mike received a trophy and special study prize, which can be used in an area of professional development of his choosing.

About the NZDF Person of the Year award

The creation of the NZDF Person of the Year award was approved in 2009 by the Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae. The award is given to the person that has best exemplified the Defence Force values of Courage, Commitment, Comradeship and Integrity over the previous 12 months.

Nominees had to have demonstrated these values through their work at the Defence Force, or in some other aspect of their lives, for example, in civic or charity work, commitment to community or sporting groups – or some combination of all of these.

All 14,800 members of the NZDF – Regular Force, Reserve and Civilian – were free to nominate their peers and to be nominated.

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